The goal of the study was to determine baseline protective titers of antibodies to Streptococcus pneumoniae surface protein A (PspA) and capsular polysaccharide in individuals with and individuals without type 2 diabetes mellitus. A total of 561 individuals (131 individuals with diabetes and 491 without) were screened for antibodies to PspA using a standard enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A subset of participants with antibodies to PspA were retested using a WHO ELISA to determine titers of antibodies to capsular polysaccharide (CPS) (serotypes 4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F, and 23F). Functional activity of antibodies was measured by assessing their ability to enhance complement (C3) deposition on pneumococci and promote killing of opsonized pneumococci. Titers of antibodies to protein antigens (PspA) were significantly lower in individuals with diabetes than controls without diabetes (P = 0.01), and antibodies showed a significantly reduced complement deposition ability (P = 0.02). Both antibody titers and complement deposition were negatively associated with hyperglycemia. Conversely, titers of antibodies to capsular polysaccharides were either comparable between the two groups or were significantly higher in individuals with diabetes, as was observed for CPS 14 (P = 0.05). The plasma specimens from individuals with diabetes also demonstrated a higher opsonophagocytic index against CPS serotype 14. Although we demonstrate comparable protective titers of antibodies to CPS in individuals with and individuals without diabetes, those with diabetes had lower PspA titers and poor opsonic activity strongly associated with hyperglycemia. These results suggest a link between diabetes and impairment of antibody response.
Salmonellosis is a major contributor to the global public health burden. Salmonella enterica serotype Newport has ranked among three Salmonella serotypes most commonly associated with food-borne outbreaks in the United States. It was thought to be polyphyletic and composed of independent lineages. Here we report draft genomes of eight strains of S. Newport from diverse hosts and locations.
Salmonellosis has been one of the major contributors to the global public health burden. Salmonella enterica serotype Agona has ranked among the top 10 and top 20 most frequent Salmonella serotypes isolated from human sources in China and the United States, respectively. We report draft genomes of three S. Agona strains from China.
Clostridium botulinum is a pathogen of concern for low-acid canned foods. Here we report draft genomes of a neurotoxin-producing C. botulinum strain isolated from water samples used for cooling low-acid canned foods at a canning facility. The genome sequence confirmed that this strain belonged to C. botulinum serotype B1, albeit with major differences, including thousands of unique single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) compared to other genomes of the same serotype.
Salmonella Newport has ranked in the top three Salmonella serotypes associated with foodborne outbreaks from 1995 to 2011 in the United States. In the current study, we selected 26 S. Newport strains isolated from diverse sources and geographic locations and then conducted 454 shotgun pyrosequencing procedures to obtain 16–24 × coverage of high quality draft genomes for each strain. Comparative genomic analysis of 28 S. Newport strains (including 2 reference genomes) and 15 outgroup genomes identified more than 140,000 informative SNPs. A resulting phylogenetic tree consisted of four sublineages and indicated that S. Newport had a clear geographic structure. Strains from Asia were divergent from those from the Americas. Our findings demonstrated that analysis using whole genome sequencing data resulted in a more accurate picture of phylogeny compared to that using single genes or small sets of genes. We selected loci around the mutS gene of S. Newport to differentiate distinct lineages, including those between invH and mutS genes at the 3′ end of Salmonella Pathogenicity Island 1 (SPI-1), ste fimbrial operon, and Clustered, Regularly Interspaced, Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) associated-proteins (cas). These genes in the outgroup genomes held high similarity with either S. Newport Lineage II or III at the same loci. S. Newport Lineages II and III have different evolutionary histories in this region and our data demonstrated genetic flow and homologous recombination events around mutS. The findings suggested that S. Newport Lineages II and III diverged early in the serotype evolution and have evolved largely independently. Moreover, we identified genes that could delineate sublineages within the phylogenetic tree and that could be used as potential biomarkers for trace-back investigations during outbreaks. Thus, whole genome sequencing data enabled us to better understand the genetic background of pathogenicity and evolutionary history of S. Newport and also provided additional markers for epidemiological response.
AID promotes chromosomal translocations by inducing DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) at immunoglobulin (Ig) genes and oncogenes in G1. RPA is a ssDNA-binding protein that associates with resected DSBs in the S phase and facilitates the assembly of factors involved in homologous repair (HR) such as Rad51. Notably, RPA deposition also marks sites of AID-mediated damage, but its role in Ig gene recombination remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that RPA associates asymmetrically with resected ssDNA in response to lesions created by AID, RAG, or other nucleases. Small amounts of RPA are deposited at AID targets in G1 in an ATM-dependent manner. In contrast, recruitment in S-G2/M is extensive, ATM-independent, and associated with Rad51 accumulation. RPA in S-G2/M increases in NHEJ-deficient lymphocytes, where there is more extensive DNA-end resection. Thus, most RPA recruitment during CSR represents salvage of un-repaired breaks by homology-based pathways during the S-G2/M phases of the cell cycle.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV), an emerging bloodborne pathogen, causes chronic liver disease frequently except in about 10-20% of infections which undergo spontaneous resolution. Investigating factors that influence viral clearance is essential to understand the natural history of this infection and establishing novel strategies for prevention and treatment. HCV clearance was estimated in a unique cohort of 1260 HIV and HBV negative current drug users enrolled for a hepatitis B vaccination study. It was defined as the inability to detect viral RNA using a PCR method in presence of serum anti-HCV antibody EIA. Associated demographic and socio-behavioral factors including drug use patterns were identified from the enrolled subjects using multivariate regression analysis. 33.3 % (420/1260) of drug users were found positive for anti-HCV antibodies and 14.8% (62/420) of these individuals achieved viral clearance (negative PCR test). Race or ethnicity of the participants was the only significant factor associated with HCV clearance. Hispanics (OR = 3.4, 95% CI: 1.3-8.5, p = 0.01) and Caucasians (OR = 3.1, 95% CI: 1.5-6.6, p = 0.003) had significantly higher odds of clearing the virus compared to African Americans when adjusted for age and gender. None of the socio-behavioral factors including alcohol intake and drug use patterns were significant determinants of HCV clearance. Racial or ethnic differences in HCV clearance were observed in this study suggesting an important role of host genetic susceptibility factors in determining the clinical course of this disease. Further research is needed to examine these genetic associations of host-virus relationships.
Drug Users; Hepatitis C; Race; Viral Persistence; African American
Facile laboratory tools are needed to augment identification in contamination events to trace the contamination back to the source (traceback) of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis). Understanding the evolution and diversity within and among outbreak strains is the first step towards this goal. To this end, we collected 106 new S. Enteriditis isolates within S. Enteriditis Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern JEGX01.0004 and close relatives, and determined their genome sequences. Sources for these isolates spanned food, clinical and environmental farm sources collected during the 2010 S. Enteritidis shell egg outbreak in the United States along with closely related serovars, S. Dublin, S. Gallinarum biovar Pullorum and S. Gallinarum. Despite the highly homogeneous structure of this population, S. Enteritidis isolates examined in this study revealed thousands of SNP differences and numerous variable genes (n = 366). Twenty-one of these genes from the lineages leading to outbreak-associated samples had nonsynonymous (causing amino acid changes) changes and five genes are putatively involved in known Salmonella virulence pathways. While chromosome synteny and genome organization appeared to be stable among these isolates, genome size differences were observed due to variation in the presence or absence of several phages and plasmids, including phage RE-2010, phage P125109, plasmid pSEEE3072_19 (similar to pSENV), plasmid pOU1114 and two newly observed mobile plasmid elements pSEEE1729_15 and pSEEE0956_35. These differences produced modifications to the assembled bases for these draft genomes in the size range of approximately 4.6 to 4.8 mbp, with S. Dublin being larger (∼4.9 mbp) and S. Gallinarum smaller (4.55 mbp) when compared to S. Enteritidis. Finally, we identified variable S. Enteritidis genes associated with virulence pathways that may be useful markers for the development of rapid surveillance and typing methods, potentially aiding in traceback efforts during future outbreaks involving S. Enteritidis PFGE pattern JEGX01.0004.
Salmonella enterica is recognized as one of the most common bacterial agents of foodborne illness. We report draft genomes of four Salmonella serovar Heidelberg isolates associated with the recent multistate outbreak of human Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to kosher broiled chicken livers in the United States in 2011. Isolates 2011K-1259 and 2011K-1232 were recovered from humans, whereas 2011K-1724 and 2011K-1726 were isolated from chicken liver. Whole genome sequence analysis of these isolates provides a tool for studying the short-term evolution of these epidemic clones and can be used for characterizing potentially new virulence factors.
A novel in vitro system was employed to investigate liver tissue respiration (mitochondrial O2 consumption) in mice treated with concanavalin A (Con A). This study aimed to investigate hepatocyte bioenergetics in this well-studied hepatitis model.
C57Bl/6 and C57Bl/6 IFN-γ−/− mice were injected intravenously with 12 mg ConA/kg. Liver specimens were collected at various timepoints after injection and analyzed for cellular respiration and caspase activation. Serum was analyzed for interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and aminotransferases. Fluorescence activated cell sorting analysis was used to determine the phenotype of infiltrating cells, and light and electron microscopy were used to monitor morphological changes. Phosphorescence analyzer that measured dissolved O2 as function of time was used to evaluate respiration.
In sealed vials, O2 concentrations in solutions containing liver specimen and glucose declined linearly with time, confirming zero-order kinetics of hepatocyte respiration. O2 consumption was inhibited by cyanide, confirming the oxidation occurred in the respiratory chain. Enhanced liver respiration (by ≈68%, p<0.02) was noted 3 hr after ConA treatment, and occurred in conjunction with limited cellular infiltrations around the blood vessels. Diminished respiration (by ≈30%, p=0.005) was noted 12 hr after ConA treatment, and occurred in conjunction with deranged mitochondria, areas of necrosis, and prominent infiltrations with immune cells, most significantly, CD3+NKT+ cells. Increases in intracellular caspase activity and serum IFN-γ and aminotransferase levels were noted 3 hr after ConA treatment and progressed with time. The above-noted changes were less pronounced in C57Bl/6 IFN-γ−/− mice treated with ConA.
Based on these results, liver tissue bioenergetics is increased 3 hr after ConA exposure. This effect is driven by the pathogenesis of the disease, in which IFN-γ and other cytokines contribute to. Subsequent declines in liver bioenergetics appear to be a result of necrosis and active caspases targeting the mitochondria within hepatocytes.
Concanavalin A (ConA); Hepatitis; Caspase; AST; ALT; IFN-γ
We identified a novel serotype 1/2a outbreak strain and 2 novel epidemic clones of Listeria monocytogenes while investigating a foodborne outbreak of listeriosis associated with consumption of cantaloupe during 2011 in the United States. Comparative analyses of strains worldwide are essential to identification of novel outbreak strains and epidemic clones.
Listeria monocytogenes; cantaloupe; United States; novel outbreak strain; novel epidemic clones; mixed-serotype biofilms; bacteria; foodborne infections
Loss or functional impairment of p53 occurs in many human cancers, and its absence is often associated with a poor response to conventional chemotherapy. Hence, much effort is currently devoted to developing novel treatments for p53-deficient malignancies. One approach is to target pathways that are selectively required for the survival of p53-deficient cancer cells, thus exploiting a synthetic lethal interaction. Previous studies have demonstrated that inhibition of the ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR) and checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) pathway in p53-deficient cells can induce such a synthetic lethal outcome. In this issue of the JCI, Ma et al. take these findings a step closer to the clinic by demonstrating that highly specific inhibitors of Chk1 synergize with chemotherapy to stem progression of p53-deficient triple-negative breast cancers in a xenotransplant model of this disease. Together with other recent studies, this report highlights the promise of ATR and Chk1 inhibitors in targeted cancer treatment.
Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg has caused numerous outbreaks in humans. Here, we report draft genomes of five isolates of serovar Heidelberg associated with the recent (2011) multistate outbreak linked to ground turkey in the United States. Isolates 2011K-1110 and 2011K-1132 were recovered from humans, while isolates 2011K-1138, 2011K-1224, and 2011K-1225 were recovered from ground turkey. Whole-genome sequence analysis of these isolates provides a tool for studying the short-term evolution of these epidemic clones.
Cheese contamination can occur at numerous stages in the manufacturing process including the use of improperly pasteurized or raw milk. Of concern is the potential contamination by Listeria monocytogenes and other pathogenic bacteria that find the high moisture levels and moderate pH of popular Latin-style cheeses like queso fresco a hospitable environment. In the investigation of a foodborne outbreak, samples typically undergo enrichment in broth for 24 hours followed by selective agar plating to isolate bacterial colonies for confirmatory testing. The broth enrichment step may also enable background microflora to proliferate, which can confound subsequent analysis if not inhibited by effective broth or agar additives. We used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to provide a preliminary survey of bacterial species associated with three brands of Latin-style cheeses after 24-hour broth enrichment.
Brand A showed a greater diversity than the other two cheese brands (Brands B and C) at nearly every taxonomic level except phylum. Brand B showed the least diversity and was dominated by a single bacterial taxon, Exiguobacterium, not previously reported in cheese. This genus was also found in Brand C, although Lactococcus was prominent, an expected finding since this bacteria belongs to the group of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) commonly found in fermented foods.
The contrasting diversity observed in Latin-style cheese was surprising, demonstrating that despite similarity of cheese type, raw materials and cheese making conditions appear to play a critical role in the microflora composition of the final product. The high bacterial diversity associated with Brand A suggests it may have been prepared with raw materials of high bacterial diversity or influenced by the ecology of the processing environment. Additionally, the presence of Exiguobacterium in high proportions (96%) in Brand B and, to a lesser extent, Brand C (46%), may have been influenced by the enrichment process. This study is the first to define Latin-style cheese microflora using Next-Generation Sequencing. These valuable preliminary data will direct selective tailoring of agar formulations to improve culture-based detection of pathogens in Latin-style cheese.
Latin-style cheese; Next Generation Sequencing; Microflora; Bacteria; Exiguobacterium
The rapid advancement of genome technologies holds great promise for improving the quality and speed of clinical and public health laboratory investigations and for decreasing their cost. The latest generation of genome DNA sequencers can provide highly detailed and robust information on disease-causing microbes, and in the near future these technologies will be suitable for routine use in national, regional, and global public health laboratories. With additional improvements in instrumentation, these next- or third-generation sequencers are likely to replace conventional culture-based and molecular typing methods to provide point-of-care clinical diagnosis and other essential information for quicker and better treatment of patients. Provided there is free-sharing of information by all clinical and public health laboratories, these genomic tools could spawn a global system of linked databases of pathogen genomes that would ensure more efficient detection, prevention, and control of endemic, emerging, and other infectious disease outbreaks worldwide.
genome-based informatics; disease monitoring; information sharing; point-of-care clinical diagnosis; genomic tools; emerging diseases; infectious diseases; outbreaks; bacteria; viruses; parasites; pathogens
Escherichia coli O104 isolates collected from different sources in the United States were examined for virulence genes typical of enterohemorrhagic E. coli and those identified in the O104:H4 isolate associated with the 2011 German outbreak. The unexpected presence of virulence markers in these isolates highlights the importance of screening unusual and potentially pathogenic Shiga toxin-producing E. coli serotypes.
Two atmospheric circulation systems, the mid-latitude Westerlies and the Asian summer monsoon (ASM), play key roles in northern-hemisphere climatic changes. However, the variability of the Westerlies in Asia and their relationship to the ASM remain unclear. Here, we present the longest and highest-resolution drill core from Lake Qinghai on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau (TP), which uniquely records the variability of both the Westerlies and the ASM since 32 ka, reflecting the interplay of these two systems. These records document the anti-phase relationship of the Westerlies and the ASM for both glacial-interglacial and glacial millennial timescales. During the last glaciation, the influence of the Westerlies dominated; prominent dust-rich intervals, correlated with Heinrich events, reflect intensified Westerlies linked to northern high-latitude climate. During the Holocene, the dominant ASM circulation, punctuated by weak events, indicates linkages of the ASM to orbital forcing, North Atlantic abrupt events, and perhaps solar activity changes.
Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of bacteraemia, which frequently results in complications such as infective endocarditis, osteomyelitis and exit from the bloodstream to cause metastatic abscesses. Interaction with endothelial cells is critical to these complications and several bacterial proteins have been shown to be involved. The S. aureus extracellular adhesion protein (Eap) has many functions, it binds several host glyco-proteins and has both pro- and anti-inflammatory activity. Unfortunately its role in vivo has not been robustly tested to date, due to difficulties in complementing its activity in mutant strains. We previously found Eap to have pro-inflammatory activity, and here show that purified native Eap triggered TNFα release in whole human blood in a dose-dependent manner. This level of TNFα increased adhesion of S. aureus to endothelial cells 4-fold via a mechanism involving protein A on the bacterial surface and gC1qR/p33 on the endothelial cell surface. The contribution this and other Eap activities play in disease severity during bacteraemia was tested by constructing an isogenic set of strains in which the eap gene was inactivated and complemented by inserting an intact copy elsewhere on the bacterial chromosome. Using a murine bacteraemia model we found that Eap expressing strains cause a more severe infection, demonstrating its role in invasive disease.
Enriching environmental samples to increase the probability of detection has been standard practice throughout the history of microbiology. However, by its very nature, the process of enrichment creates a biased sample that may have unintended consequences for surveillance or resolving a pathogenic outbreak. With the advent of next-generation sequencing and metagenomic approaches, the possibility now exists to quantify enrichment bias at an unprecedented taxonomic breadth.
We investigated differences in taxonomic profiles of three enriched and unenriched tomato phyllosphere samples taken from three different tomato fields (n = 18). 16S rRNA gene meteganomes were created for each of the 18 samples using 454/Roche’s pyrosequencing platform, resulting in a total of 165,259 sequences. Significantly different taxonomic profiles and abundances at a number of taxonomic levels were observed between the two treatments. Although as many as 28 putative Salmonella sequences were detected in enriched samples, there was no significant difference in the abundance of Salmonella between enriched and unenriched treatments.
Our results illustrate that the process of enriching greatly alters the taxonomic profile of an environmental sample beyond that of the target organism. We also found evidence suggesting that enrichment may not increase the probability of detecting a target. In conclusion, our results further emphasize the need to develop metagenomics as a validated culture independent method for pathogen detection.
Enrichment bias; Metagenomics; Pathogen; Taxonomy
The adaptor protein Src homology 2 domain-containing leukocyte-specific protein of 76 kDa (SLP-76) is central to the organization of intracellular signaling downstream of the T cell receptor (TCR). Evaluation of its role in mature, primary T cells has been hampered by developmental defects that occur in the absence of wild-type SLP-76 protein in thymocytes. Following tamoxifen-regulated conditional deletion of SLP-76, mature, antigen-inexperienced T cells maintain normal TCR surface expression but fail to transduce TCR generated signals. Conditionally deficient T cells fail to proliferate in response to antigenic stimulation or a lymphopenic environment. Mice with induced deletion of SLP-76 are resistant to induction of the CD4+ T cell mediated autoimmune disease experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Our findings demonstrate the critical role of SLP-76-mediated signaling in initiating T cell-directed immune responses both in vitro and in vivo and highlight the ability to analyze signaling processes in mature T cells in the absence of developmental defects.
T Cells; Signal Transduction; Transgenic/Knockout Mice
Hippocampal function has been implicated in mood and anxiety disorders, as well as in the response to antidepressant (AD) treatment. However, the significance of new neurons in the therapeutic mechanism of ADs remains unclear. In this study, the proliferation of new neurons was inhibited through conditional deletion of ataxia telangeictasia-mutated and rad-3 related (ATR), a cell cycle checkpoint kinase, and cellular and behavioral outcomes following AD exposure were evaluated. ATR was conditionally deleted by microinjecting a Cre recombinase-expressing virus into the hippocampus of floxed-ATR mice. Behavioral assessment in multiple rodent models of affective state revealed anxiolytic-like behavior in the elevated zero maze, marble burying test, and novelty-induced hypophagia (NIH) test. The efficacy of chronic desipramine (DMI) treatment was evaluated in the NIH test, as this paradigm is thought to be sensitive to increases in neurogenesis by chronic AD exposure. Chronic exposure to DMI reduced hyponeophagia in the NIH test in control mice, whereas DMI had no behavioral effect in ATR-deleted mice. Although DMI did not alter cell proliferation in either group, it did produce a robust increase in dendritic spine density in control mice, indicative of enhanced neuronal plasticity. This effect of DMI on spine density was severely attenuated following ATR deletion. These findings demonstrate that reductions in basal neurogenesis produce an anxiolytic phenotype and reduce AD efficacy in behaviors requiring chronic exposure. Furthermore, attenuated capacity for synaptic remodeling may underlie these behaviors. ATR deletion may serve as a valuable model to study the various proposed roles of newborn neurons in the hippocampus.
depression; anxiety; neurogenesis; plasticity; desipramine; hyponeophagia; animal models; depression; unipolar/bipolar; mood/anxiety/stress disorders; molecular and cellular neurobiology; neurogenesis; deipramine; hyponeophagia
Nanotechnology has introduced many exciting new tools for the treatment of human diseases. One of the obstacles in its application to that end is the lack of a fundamental understanding of the interaction that occurs between nanoparticles and living cells. This report describes the quantitative analysis of the kinetics and endocytic pathways involved in the uptake of anatase titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles into prostate cancer PC-3M cells. The experiments were performed with TiO2 nanoconjugates—6 nm nanoparticles with surface conjugated fluorescent Alizarin Red S (ARS). Results obtained by flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy, and inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry confirmed a complex nanoparticle-cell interaction involving a variety of endocytic mechanisms. The results demonstrated that a temperature, concentration, and time-dependent internalization of the TiO2 nanoparticles and nanoconjugates occurred via clathrin-mediated endocytosis, caveolin-mediated endocytosis, and macropinocytosis.
anatase; TiO2; nanoconjugate; endocytosis; Alizarin Red S
Novel experimental techniques reveal the simultaneous activity of larger and larger numbers of neurons. As a result there is increasing interest in the structure of cooperative – or correlated – activity in neural populations, and in the possible impact of such correlations on the neural code. A fundamental theoretical challenge is to understand how the architecture of network connectivity along with the dynamical properties of single cells shape the magnitude and timescale of correlations. We provide a general approach to this problem by extending prior techniques based on linear response theory. We consider networks of general integrate-and-fire cells with arbitrary architecture, and provide explicit expressions for the approximate cross-correlation between constituent cells. These correlations depend strongly on the operating point (input mean and variance) of the neurons, even when connectivity is fixed. Moreover, the approximations admit an expansion in powers of the matrices that describe the network architecture. This expansion can be readily interpreted in terms of paths between different cells. We apply our results to large excitatory-inhibitory networks, and demonstrate first how precise balance – or lack thereof – between the strengths and timescales of excitatory and inhibitory synapses is reflected in the overall correlation structure of the network. We then derive explicit expressions for the average correlation structure in randomly connected networks. These expressions help to identify the important factors that shape coordinated neural activity in such networks.
Is neural activity more than the sum of its individual parts? What is the impact of cooperative, or correlated, spiking among multiple cells? We can start addressing these questions, as rapid advances in experimental techniques allow simultaneous recordings from ever-increasing populations. However, we still lack a general understanding of the origin and consequences of the joint activity that is revealed. The challenge is compounded by the fact that both the intrinsic dynamics of single cells and the correlations among then vary depending on the overall state of the network. Here, we develop a toolbox that addresses this issue. Specifically, we show how linear response theory allows for the expression of correlations explicitly in terms of the underlying network connectivity and known single-cell properties – and that the predictions of this theory accurately match simulations of a touchstone, nonlinear model in computational neuroscience, the general integrate-and-fire cell. Thus, our theory should help unlock the relationship between network architecture, single-cell dynamics, and correlated activity in diverse neural circuits.